New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Flexibility as a Pedagogical Challenge: “Teaching-Through-Play” or Edutainment Practices for Computer Science Students

Alina Vagele, Riga Technical University (Latvia)


When comparing the cohort of today’s students with previous generations, we can observe some cognitive changes that have probably been caused by digitalization processes in society. The contemporary study environment is being modernized at a rapidly increasing pace; hence, there is a crucial need for new teaching methods that should be applied to facilitate the successful interaction between students and lecturers. In the Baltics, the age gap between these two categories is conspicuous that has been proved statistically. Challenges occur when teaching well-versed IT students, since lecturers are expected to adjust their own cognitive competences to the situational demands of the contemporary classroom. The aim of this research is to examine edutainment as a high-end teaching concept that helps to enhance students’ motivation and to eliminate the possible mental gap between teachers and scholars. Various icebreaking practices, such as interactive discussions and, most importantly, didactic games have been implemented at Riga Technical University to accomplish this task. The factor that is particularly noteworthy here is the widespread stereotypical interpretation of edutainment; whereby the latter is understood solely as a deliberate simplification of the study process. In fact, edutainment or ‘learning through play approach’ has always been deeply entwined with the main postulates of humanistic psychology. Edutainment teaching aims at delicate yet persistent deliverance of hidden potentials and preferences of a scholar. For instance, the survey based on students’ feedback has shown that there is vivid interconnection between the gender of a scholar and their attitude to the elements of competition in didactic games. Around 86% of male respondents felt enthusiastic about classroom activities, which are based on competition principles; whereas only 35% of females gave positive feedback. The reason of this distinction has been best formulated by one of these female students, who described competitions in the classroom as ‘empathy lacking’ activities (she insisted that “empathy is part of female nature”). Thus, in the classroom situation, edutainment has appeared to be a sociopsychological indicator that reveals some individual traits of a student and helps the lecturer to choose an appropriate teaching method to develop their competences.  

Keywords: Edutainment practices in the Baltics; humanistic psychology; didactic games for IT students;


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